Gunnedah Aero Club gauges communities thoughts on recreational flying

IN FLIGHT: Georgie Nichols takes the controls mid-flight during Gunnedah Aero Club's demonstration day. Photo: Contributed

IN FLIGHT: Georgie Nichols takes the controls mid-flight during Gunnedah Aero Club's demonstration day. Photo: Contributed

PLANS to boost numbers and make flying more accessible to the general public could be in the pipeline for Gunnedah Aero Club.

The club held a demonstration day on the weekend to gauge its members’ interest in recreational flying.

Fifteen members took to the skies and were at the controls for a lengthy flight with instructors from Central West Flying.

Currently the club boasts more than 100 members, both flying and non-flying parties and offers flight training for private to commercial pilots licences through training provider Airspeed Aviation.

Treasurer Ben Nichols said the club has been looking at ways of gaining more members and encouraging more members to fly.

“No decisions have been made, it’s all still in the pipeline, but we have discussed the purchase of a recreational plane,” Mr Nichols said.

“There’s a different category of licence for recreational flying.The training is not as arduous and is much more economical, at around the quarter of the price or a bit more of your general licence.

“Plenty of people tell me they would love to have a go of flying but then can’t afford it.

“We want to attract people who want to fly for recreation and it would be much more attainable with this type of licence, but all hours are transferable to a general licence, which is a bonus.”

Mr Nichols said the club hopes to appeal to the wider public.

“We’ve got a really good airport facility that could be utilised better for the general public,” Mr Nichols said.

“This is one way we could make this happen. We have very good, safe flying terrain, relatively low in altitude and reasonably flat terrain for flying.”

Mr Nichols said the recreational planes are modern and appeal to a newer flying generation.

He said members as young as 15 can learn to fly for recreational use and hopes to encourage high school students to consider a career in aviation.

Mr Nichols said the club received positive feedback from the demonstration day and said a decision will be made early next year on whether it chooses to purchase the plane.

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